Thursday, 26 November 2009

First in Asia: P50-million automated system installed in RP airports

Manila Bulletin

The country’s top aviation body has installed a cutting edge communications system, linking the Philippines with other countries to get the latest aeronautical and other relevant information critical to flight safety.

Dubbed as the Automated Aeronautical Information Service (AIS), the new facility has brought the country closer to achieving Category 1 status, two years after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has moved the country one notch lower to Category 2.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Ruben F. Ciron said the new system will automatically update information in real time, reaching subscribers without the time lag associated with the old mode.

“The new system brought the CAAP closer to regaining its category 1 status,” said Ciron. “We have now one of the most advanced telecommunication systems and this would hopefully convinced the FAA of our serious concern to bring our aviation body at par with the world.”

The AIS facility, costing P50 million is fully automated and is capable of sending updates and new data to subscribers in a flash. It is housed at the CAAP compound in Pasay City and was put by the Energy Systems and Resources Inc. (ISRI), with the help of Frequentis, a European firm represented by Christian Troemer, Chief Regional Officer of the company.

The new AIS replaced a dated and decrepit system that broke down a few years ago and temporarily disconnected the Philippines with the rest of the International Civil Aviation Community.

In recent past, Air Transportation Office (ATO) (now switched to the CAAP) air communications experts were using typewriters and outmoded teletype in sending Notice-to-airmen (Notam) and other contents of aeronautical publications to all the members of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Flight plans and the flow of critical data transmitted way ahead of flights leaving the Philippines could not be processed in advance, thus delaying international flights coming and going into the country.

These prompted authorities to facilitate the provision of needed funds to update the system. Consequently, an upgraded AFTN was put up and linked to the internet but still manually operated.

Present during the ribbon cutting ceremony were Ciron of the CAAP; Susan Tecson, Managing Director of ESRI; Consul Florian Brandl of Austria, Isabel Schmiedbauer, Commercial Attache.

For those unable to download them, hard copies of maps, charts and voluminous records of the AIP could also be obtained from the CAAP.

The AIP contains all there is to know about the status of the country’s airports, including maps, charts, route of flights, available navigational aids and their locations, ongoing constructions of airports and facilities and upgrading of other services.

Troemer said the Philippines is the first Asian country to have adopted the new automated system and would soon be followed by New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

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